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Global News Trans-Pacific volume decline picks up pace in October

Registration dateNOV 29, 2022

Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior EditorNov 17, 2022 4:09PM EST
source : (The Journal of Commerce)

Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior Editor
Nov 17, 2022 4:09PM EST
source : (The Journal of Commerce)

Trans-Pacific volume decline picks up pace in October Year-to-date US imports from Asia rose 2.4 percent from January to October 2021 due to a strong first half of the year.
Photo credit: Gil Meshulam/

US imports from Asia in October plunged to their lowest level in 20 months, with the rate of decline accelerating rapidly from September as demand in the eastbound trans-Pacific tumbles from the record highs set earlier this year.

Asian imports in October totaled 1.44 million TEU, down 11 percent from October 2021 and the lowest monthly volume since February 2021, according to data from PIERS, a sister company within S&P Global. October’s double-digit percentage year-over-year drop followed a 6.5 percent decline in September.

In past years, October was the last month of the traditional trans-Pacific peak season, but this year, retailers shipped much of their holiday merchandise by early summer to ensure on-time delivery in anticipation of supply chain bottlenecks and possible interruptions in cargo handling at West Coast ports due to prolonged longshore contract negotiations.

Retailers are forecasting a steep decline in US imports through at least the first quarter of 2023. Global Port Tracker, which is published monthly by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates, forecasts that imports will decline each month from November through March compared with the same months last year.
Trans-Pacific import decline accelerates in October 2022: Total monthly TEU volume of US containerized imports from Asia, with year-over-year change
Asian imports in January through October remain higher than in 2021 due to a strong first half this year. Volumes ticked up 2.4 percent compared with the same 10-month period last year, according to PIERS. Although year-to-date volumes are still 21.2 percent higher than in the same period in 2019, October imports were up only 2 percent from October 2019, a signal that demand may be returning to pre-pandemic levels.

PIERS data show imports from Asia rose 6.3 percent year over year in the first half of 2022, reaching an all-time monthly high of 1.78 million TEU in May.

However, the Nov. 8 Global Port Tracker report forecasts a 5.3 percent year-over-year decline in imports through the dozen US ports it covers in the second half of the year, with softening volumes to continue into 2023 as US consumers contend with inflation and high interest rates.

“We expect the flattening of demand that began around the middle of this year to continue into the first half of 2023,” Ben Hackett, principal at Hackett Associates, said in the report. “This will depress the volume of imports, which has already declined in recent months.”
· Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at and follow him on Twitter: @billmongelluzzo.